When the David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition kicks off early Friday at Fort Benning, it will be a family affair for two brothers.
“It’s great to be on the team with my brother,” Maj. Jim Keirsey said of his brother Capt. Kent Keirsey. “It’s something we always wanted to do, Best Ranger.”
The Keirseys are one of 50 teams taking part in the annual event to determine the Army’s best soldier team. They will compete in a series of events that include firing weapons, extended road marches, navigation courses, Ranger skills and other exercises. After about 60 hours of competition, the grueling event ends Sunday with an announcement of the winners.
Since 2005 when he got injured, Jim said he always was looking for another opportunity to compete. “I was always looking for another opportunity,” he said. “Between deployments and duty assignments, I never had that opportunity.”
Jim, 32, and Kent, 30, of the 104th Division have been training since January for the competition. During the history of the event and last year, many teams have fallen during the road march on the first day.
“I think the big test is the long movements,” Jim said. “The land navigation will test everybody’s character and discipline ability to get through it.”
As a team, Kent said the brothers may have an edge knowing each others habits and how to motivate each other.
“I have known this guy for 30 years,” Kent said of his brother. “We know each others habits and how to motivate each other. I think that will help out.”
During the public events, the Keirseys will be watched by their father, who was a Ranger but never competed in the event.